Astronomers crack mystery of 'transformer' star
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/25/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Astronomers have discovered a star that seems to vary and vanish in a surprising fashion. They mystery may now have been solved.
The mysterious star switches between two states of energy output, baffling scientists -- until now.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scientists observing a pulsar have been surprised to notice the star disappear and reappear in their observations. Stars do not appear or disappear suddenly, so they were intrigued by the discovery and examined the pulsar more closely.
A pulsar is actually the core of a dead star, called a neutron star, which spins very rapidly, emitting radio waves in beams as it spins. This particular pulsar spins about 43,000 times per minute. It also has a small companion star that is about 20 percent the size of the Sun.
The pulsar and small star orbit one another and this is key to understanding why the pulsar appears and disappears.
Scientists now think the pulsar is drawing gas from its companion which builds up and heats up, then essentially explodes in a burst of energy. This causes the waves emitted by the star to change from radio waves to X-rays. Since the star is studied in radio waves, every time it bursts, it disappears from the radio-sensitive instrument used to observe it. This creates the illusion, on paper, that the star is disappearing. Meanwhile, while it is invisible to radio waves, it lights up in X-rays.
This periodic transformation between these two states of energy output have not been studied before so that makes this binary system both new and rare. Scientists don't know when the next switch will occur, so they will continue watching it in the hopes they can observe it switching back and forth again.
Astronomers hope to learn more about how pulsars form and how they interact when they orbit larger companion stars.
The study announcing the discovery was published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for MARCH 2017
Support for Persecuted Christians. That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.
A paralyzed man has regained the use of an arm using a brain implant wired to his muscles. His thoughts control the implant. He is now able ... continue reading
Epic! Astronomers catch a radical black hole surfing a gravitational wave, and it's pure awesome! Watch
Here's something far out for you! Astronomers have detected an extreme black hole surfing at five million miles per hour, which is pretty ... continue reading
Professor David Sinclair and his team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently unveiled an anti-aging drug that may help get ... continue reading
The Second Agricultural Revolution: The new tech that will change what you eat and END WORLD HUNGER Watch
What you eat is about to change forever, and it comes with a lot of other perks and advantages. For example, ending world hunger. Memphis ... continue reading
A video shared on YouTube by user SHUBHAM SHUKLA reveals Google Home's "Alexa" answering a short series of questions. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Pope Francis shares special message for families ahead of next World ...
- Daily Reading for Friday, March 31st, 2017 HD Video
- What happens to babies who survive abortion?
- Another life lost - Pray for Mexico's priests
- Daily Readings for Thursday, March 30, 2017
- Implant allows paralyzed man to move arm using his thoughts HD Video
- St. Peter Regulatus: Saint of the Day for Thursday, March 30, 2017
- Daily Reading for Thursday, March 30th, 2017 HD
- Cause of California's drought is revealed HD
- Pope Francis' important message for children HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.